Without much fanfare, and much to my surprise (and probably yours as well), the two student government vice presidential candidates exchanged a lukewarm discussion Tuesday night about major issues concerning the university, explaining why they would be the best for the job.
The turnout was negligible. By my observation, out of the twenty or so people who were in the Rathskellar, roughly fifteen were either in student government themselves or were friends of the candidates, one was me, and the other four seemed to be a little angry that the debate was interrupting their conversation. So if any of you actually go out to vote, and I urge you to, here is what you missed.
The debate saw Andy Cooper, upstart candidate who has held leadership positions in many organizations like SAFAC but has no experience in student government, face up against Gina Yacone, a member of student government, and member of Tri Delta among various other groups. Both candidates spoke eloquently, but I won’t tell you for whom to vote. Here is an adequate sampling of the questions and answers so that you can make the decision for yourself. (I have paraphrased the answers without altering their content).
Question 1: What are the most important issues at the University of Miami?
Cooper: Communication. We must unite students and leaders of the organizations so that students will know what is going on. The lack of communication is apparent in the dismal turnout at the debate.
Yacone: Student apathy. We must get people to care about the school, bring back spirit in the dorms, and open up lines of communication between the students and leaders.
Question 2: What things do you want to accomplish?
Yacone: Chairs of committees must get more information out to students. We must raise participation in all events, especially voting.
Cooper: Longer library and dining hall hours. Better on campus security. Make a school calendar to combat apathy and work with Ch. 13 [UM TV] to advertise upcoming events.
Question 3: What is the future of the University of Miami?
Cooper: Success. We must make UM a premier school. No more “Sun tan U.” In order to do this, we need to get students involved and make them care about their school.
Yacone: Great things from Category 5 [the on campus spirit club]. Better homecoming celebrations, great football, and a spirited university.
Question 4: What is the future of Student Government?
Yacone: Communication will “soar.” It will continue to grow in experience because the people involved have been working together for a few years already and will know how to do their jobs better.
Cooper: New faces. We must revitalize student government by injecting it with new energy and a fresh perspective from outside student government.
I particularly liked Cooper’s comments about changing our reputation from “Suntan U” to that of a premiere school, and his ideas about a school calendar. However, Gina does have the experience. The choice is not easy. Both are worthy candidates. Whomever you choose, at least make sure you vote.
Travis Atria is a sophomore majoring in English literature.